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Indo Pacific strategy

Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by spoz, Feb 10, 2019.

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  1. Stampede

    Stampede Active Member

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    Hi Assail

    I'm mindful this can be an awkward conversation
    A Google search of Asia or South East Asia will bring up either maps or listings of counties within these two regions.
    I have found none with Australia represented.
    This is neither a good or bad thing, but simply highlights from a geographic point of view, we are a separate identity.
    Are we part of something called Oceania or just that big bit of land south of Indonesia I cannot say. As someone of European back ground living in this part of the world I don't consider myself either Asian or apart of Asia.. Again I say this is not in some sense of self righteousness or perception of superiority but just purely to suggest, I am what I am nothing more or less. Living in this wonderful multicultural country it must be remembered that the greater majority of the population have a European connection. This I suggest is important as it gives both a sense of identity of uniqueness within the broader geographic region not only of our sense of self, but also equally importantly how others in the greater region perceive us. We are a nation of immigrants predominantly not of this region.
    As an outsider nation we still importantly have a reciprocal relationship with our neighbours both near and far.
    This encompasses the all important areas of trade, commerce, defence and geopolitics. This is our future and must be planned for.
    I'm very mindful the days of Pax Britannia are long gone. Equally while the USA's a powerful figure today, its importance in the world both economically and military will decline in relation to Asia and in particularly China.
    So were does this leave Australia.
    Well we embrace the region as best as possible, as it's crucial to our future prosperity and security, but we do it as an outsider not as someone within the club.
    After all that's a perception of the region as to where we belong both culturally and geographically in the greater scheme of things.


    Regards S
     
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  2. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Feel free to disagree but I am of the view that the future of Australia is Asian (part of the Indo-Pacific if you like) and is seen as a trusted partner in not only at ADMM plus but also the Quad: The Quad and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific
     
  3. t68

    t68 Well-Known Member

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    Apart of the geographical make up of Asia, Asia dosent see Australia as part of Asia

    Most of those who matter, is due to government policy in the post Menzies era in the last 40 odd years,and the UK abandonment east of Suez it all started with the Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference (Council)between Fraser government and Japan. Predominantly with Australia looking for other markets, the current thinking that Australia is dependent on the Asian region for our economic and security reasons not because we identify as Asia.
     
  4. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    I would have to agree with @OPSSG that the UK have long ago shot their bolt in the Indo Pacific and because of the lack of moral fibre of their political elite and civil service since the early 1960s, they are now no longer a first rate power. The current BREXIT fiasco, which is self inflicted, is symptomatic of the demise of the quality of the political elite and civil service. After BREXIT the UK will become less relevant upon the world stage.
     
  5. t68

    t68 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think anyone would disagree with that, but don't agree that the UK is a spent force either, unless they increase twofold re-engaging in the greater Asia-Pacific region is just a non-starter hard power wise in a full time basis, soft power is another story
     
  6. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Australian diplomatic presence/influence in Asia has been constant and growing since we decided to shed the Empire inferiority complex and strengthened when the UK abandoned Aus and NZ and joined the Common Market.
    It grew with our increasing importance as a supplier of resources firstly to Japan and expanding to al of NE Asia and China.
    Our defence relationships are enduring, again as a SEATO partner and including the FPDA of which we have filled the gap left by the British withdrawal.
    Our social engagement has been longstanding by pioneering people to people relationships with the highly regarded Colombo Plan and the myriad of University places filled by students from all over the region.

    All these engagements came about because forward thing political leaders over a generation understood our place in this world was determined by our geography and not by our mainly European ancestry, it was no accident and although some leaders from time to time have tried to drag us backwards to the old world most have the vision to understand our future.
    In the modern Australia you can walk every street in every city and see many ethnic Asian Australians speaking with broad Australian accents and that trend is continuing.
    Like it or not we are part of this dynamic and growing part of the world.
     
  7. SolarWind

    SolarWind Member

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    In an opinion piece by Mark Helprin at the Wall Street Journal
    The U.S. Is Ceding the Pacific to China
    Opinion | The U.S. Is Ceding the Pacific to China
    I will summarize my main takeaways from the article.
    The author laments the US' loss of economic and high-tech manufacturing, research, and capitalization advantages since the eighties due to outsourcing instead of automation, which in my opinion enabled China's rapid economic expansion. The author laments our inability to rally allies in confronting China on trade instead of engaging everyone at the same time. The author alarms of the possibility of our future loss of control over the Pacific and China's expansion to East Pacific and take over of the Panama Canal, if we fail to implement an adequate strategy to counter China's possible expansion. To remedy, the author suggests to rally and support our Asia-Pacific allies, pressure China on some type of nuclear arms control regime, strengthen our Navy, Marines, and long-range air power, expand long-range sealift and airlift, and dig in on our islands in the Pacific. This approach seems to be similar to area denial.

    I will quote some parts of the article because the WSJ requires paid subscription that many readers might not have, but admins, please feel free to remove if you feel this is not appropriate.

    I believe that development of an effective and cost-conscious strategy now will pay off in the long term. We need to seriously consider and address China's expansion while keeping in ming that, as predicted by Macroeconomic Theory, China's economy can continue to expand at a high rate until it approaches the level of developed Western Countries in terms of GDP per capita, which is a good measure of wealth. China is still far from it but is building its way there, at which point its GDP will become gigantic by current measures due to the size of its population. China will continue to strive to be a strong naval power due to the criticality of maritime trade to its population and economic growth. Their demand of agricultural and natural resources require large and stable maritime capabilities since their neighbors cannot fully meet Chinese demand, and diversification of suppliers provides trade advantages.
     
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  8. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I mean China was exploring alternate options for building a canal through Nicaragua. So I'm not sure they would necessarily be after the Panama Canal itself.
     
  9. SolarWind

    SolarWind Member

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    I think the article looks at a long term worst case scenario. But I would agree that consequences of a Chinese Nicaragua canal are comparable to the article's scenario. A canal through the middle of the American large landmass, which otherwise stretches continuously from the Arctic nearly to the Antarctic, gives tremendous operational advantages to those who control it. I believe such level of expansion could embolden China and make them much more assertive. And there would be Chinese naval bases in the Americas for the first time.
     
  10. weaponwh

    weaponwh Member

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    look like Philippine are worried getting caught between two big players in the middle.

    South China Sea: Philippines warns US treaty could drag it into war following B-52 flyover - CNN
     
  11. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Well the current President can't have it both ways by running with the hares and hunting with the hounds. Regardless of what his ego wants, if the big boys on the block go at it, the Philippines will be the meat in the sandwich. China already has shown that it doesn't respect international law and boundaries, so will have no hesitation in escalating on purely military grounds. The Sun Tsu Ping Fa stipulates that move because its sound military and political logic. The Philippines main island of Luzon is part of the First Island Chain.
     
  12. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    This is so typical of the Pinoys and their national political narrative. Their defence should be their responsibility but in their case it is not. They are not even sovereign in their undisputed territory (on land as various rebel groups hold those areas).

    For some strange reason they think that other nations should think like them (and are surprised that they are not well regarded in policy circles as they contribute nothing in their alliance relationship with the US).
     
  13. weaponwh

    weaponwh Member

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    Well US need ally in the area even if they don't do anything just prevent them from cozy up to china, especially after TPP ended. India is doing same they play both side to get maximum benefits
     
  14. Traveller

    Traveller Member

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    I read in earlier posts some commentary on naval blockades. This interested me as my thinking is somewhat different. I thought I might post this and find what other members see in contemporary or future naval blockades.

    On the topic of a naval blockade of Australia, do you need a traditional blockade to effect a change in Australian foreign policy?

    The last 120 years has seen a change in the nature of the battle-space, from the battlefield to the air to electronic warfare. In the globalised economy it could be suggested that the battle-space can be monetised.

    By way of example, PRC (China) had $US 3.09 trillion in foreign reserves in March 2019. China Foreign Exchange Reserves | 2019 | Data | Chart | Calendar | Forecast

    If China was to be perturbed by RAN/RAAF right of navigation activities in the South China Sea in support of US activities and agendas, hard military resources may not be required to effect Australian foreign policy changes.

    China is a major trading partner to Australia which contributed to a recent $A 2.3 billion trade surplus. Australia's trade surplus comes up short


    If China ‘dumped” $100 billion of forex and capital associated with the Australian economy it would not shake the Chinese economy. However the impact on a fragile Australian economy would likely be brutal. Sending a naval force south to Australia might invoke ANZUS, sending dollars ‘south’ if it achieves the desired effect, is safer.
     
  15. Catalina

    Catalina New Member

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    This is an astute analysis that bears further consideration.
     
  16. MrConservative

    MrConservative Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That action would automatically trigger Basel III/IV international settlement and FSB protocols. They or more precisely their trading agents would quickly have no official trading market where to dump such currency.

    The Chinese economy has far greater issues.
     
  17. Traveller

    Traveller Member

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    Is this what you are referring to?:
    https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mc...pean banks/basel-iv-whats-next-for-banks.ashx

    Finance at this level is well out of my lane so I will bow to your knowledge.I do have one question on which I am not clear. It is my perhaps mistaken understanding that these are voluntary frameworks. So in language an ex-grunt can understand, would Basel 3 or 4 stop an attack on a currency like the by Soros on the Thai baht about the turn of the century?
    Cheers
    t
     
  18. MrConservative

    MrConservative Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No because that is a McKinsey report focusing on debt liquidity concerning Europe as it relates to that aspect of the protocols.

    There is no set punitive arrangement - but for the ability of the BIS and their member Reserve Banks (The BIS is essentially the Global Reserve Bank for national Reserve banks) to throw the offender out into the cold of the international financial system and become institutem non gratia. Which in itself is a massive punishment.

    Soros's activities during the 1990's are one of the reasons the core central banks who work with the Bank for International Settlement and the Financial Stability Board closely monitor global FX transactions tightened up their oversight role. In fact Reserve or Central banks as they are sometimes called can suspend participation in the BIS system of another Reserve bank. It is voluntary in the sense that they don't have to act - but they will act particularly if all of a sudden $100 Billion AUD is dumped on the global currency market. In any case just like in equity markets their are stop trade triggers. All of the big Reserve banks (Fed Reserve, ECB, BOJ et al) would likely suspend the transactional players (institutions or banks that are party to the transaction) within their jurisdictions or suspend their banks with dealing with them. The BIS market governance committee would refuse to finalise settlement.

    China is in no position to commit financial war with the rest of the world. There are significant US based financial institutions in the private realm that control global equity classes that dwarf some G7 nations. In fact Vanguard and BlackRock together match China's GDP with around 12 Trillion of equities under management.
     
  19. Traveller

    Traveller Member

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    Thankyou MrConservative, that was one interesting and informative post. Certainly an education for me. I appreciate the time you took to write it.
     
  20. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    From my perspective, China wants a vote in Taiwan’s future and the ability to secure its trade routes against smaller powers. It’s island building efforts in the South China Sea and the PLAN’s attempt to develop an effective aircraft carrier arm reflects its efforts to mitigate this concern (to protect its trade routes). But as long as it’s economy is export driven, it wants trade, not war (unless Trump miscalculated over the redlines for China). I am hopeful the Sino-American trade war will end with a deal, in 2019. China will push back against regional states like the Philippines and Vietnam and engage in divide and conquer tactics with the rest of the Littoral States (eg. Malaysia and Brunei). There are six points to note about Sino-ASEAN relations:-

    One, beyond taking part in ADMM Plus, China also participated in bilateral exercises, like the COOPERATION series of bilateral military exercises with Singapore (that is upsetting to Taiwan). Su Hao, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, said China and Singapore are interdependent. Singapore has helped China with its economic and administrative management expertise, while China's rapid growth offers investment opportunities for Singapore. Beyond that, Belt and Road offers more opportunities for cooperation.

    Two, joint bilateral military exercises between China and individual ASEAN countries are not unique to Singapore. Indonesia (eg. Exercise Knife Sharp, anti-terror joint military exercise), Thailand (eg. Exercise Strike, a joint counter-terrorism exercise; and Exercise Blue Strike, an exercise between Thai and Chinese marine units), and Malaysia have conducted or are going to conduct bilateral exercises with China. Beijing's courtship of Jakarta, KL and Bangkok includes trade agreements, foreign direct investment, market access, technical assistance, and includes offers of military hardware and military cooperation.

    Three, the Nine-dotted line was originally an "eleven-dotted-line" first indicated by the then Kuomintang government of the Republic of China in 1947 for its claims to the South China Sea. After the Communist Party of China took over mainland China and formed the People's Republic of China in 1949, the line was adopted and revised to nine as endorsed by Zhou Enlai. It should be noted that regulations approved by China's Hainan province require foreign fishing vessels in the South China Sea to ask for permission to enter its waters took effect on 1 January 2014. China claims to a U-shaped swathe of the South China Sea that over laps with the EEZ claims of Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines. The US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has said that the passing of these restrictions on other countries' fishing activities in disputed portions of the South China Sea is 'a provocative and potentially dangerous act.' On the other hand, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the move is unremarkable. He said, "China is a maritime nation, so it is totally normal and part of the routine for Chinese provinces bordering the sea to formulate regional rules according to the national law to regulate conservation, management and utilization of maritime biological resources."

    Four, at times, China’s moves are in response to perceived provocations by other countries, described by some as “reactive assertiveness.” The standoff between vessels from China and the Philippines, which was triggered in April 2102 by Manila’s dispatching a frigate to arrest Chinese fishermen engaged in poaching at Scarborough Shoal. This incident ended with China occupying the Shoal and it also revealed the Philippines’ misconceived expectations about the role of US and ASEAN. China continues to militarize the South China Sea features it occupies and to assert its questionable maritime claims versus other claimants. US rhetoric has sharply criticized China’s behavior and implied dire consequences if it persists. But China has persisted and it has become clear that America is not going to rescue the other claimants from perceived intimidation and coercion. The realization that the US will not be coming to the rescue is belatedly beginning to sink in throughout the region and misplaced hope is being replaced by bitter disappointment and even despair in the Philippines. However to seasoned observers in Singapore this development was not a surprise.

    Five, the Indonesian Navy has distributed exercise maps that display Indonesian border delineations including Natuna, to ensure that all countries recognize Indonesian borders. This precaution is obviously taken in response to China's muscle flexing and claims in the South China Sea through the so-called nine dotted lines. China claims a U-shaped swathe of the South China Sea under the nine dotted lines, which is administered under the authority of China's Hainan province. This swathe overlaps areas also claimed by several South East Asian nations. In recent years, China’s claim has encroached Natuna waters, observers believe that China will eventually do so in a more robust manner (especially over fisheries rights).

    Six, at the bilateral level, Singapore has attempted to balance a general disposition of deference towards China with firm resolve regarding its own autonomy and the right to assert it. At the regional level, Singapore’s efforts at engaging China have no doubt been complicated by regional circumspection about Chinese motives and power.
    Yes there is worry but there are other trends we need to review. China is the world's most populous country but China is projected to be overtaken by India (current No. 2) in about 5 years. In 2016, China had a population larger than 1.4 billion (but by 2086, its ageing population will fall below 1.1 billion people). The projections – made by the UN's Population Division – suggest that by 2024, India will surpass China to become the world's most populous country. Rapidly declining fertility rates – from an average of 6 children down to 2.4 children per woman – in India means its population growth has fallen significantly over the last few decades. This means that while it will be the most populous country for the rest of the century, it's expected to reach 'peak population' in the late 2050s at around 1.7 billion before slowly falling in the second half of the century. For more details see: India will soon overtake China to become the most populous country in the world

    Other demographic trends in Asia include increasing urbanisation and connectivity via smart phones with local apps (via mega cities, like Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta), and the growth of terrorism in the littorals and the increase in the proportion of people living in growing medium sized cities near the coast (eg. the Mumbai terror attack or Mindanao after the Marawi siege).

    I believe that both China and India are less militarily prepared for these latest developments than they want. The less governed spaces and threats to trade (unconventional warfare against non-state actors) are Chinese and Indian concerns - just as it is a Japanese or American concern. Piracy in S.E. Asia is now locally managed (eg. the Malacca Straits Sea Patrol and the "Eyes-in-the-Sky" Combined Maritime Air Patrols, as well as through intelligence sharing) but I don’t think we understand enough about how coastal cities react to stress (eg. access to clean water, rise of sea levels, storm surges due to weather events, earthquakes and so on) - when it can be seen as a Feral City (or like a discussion on failed states). IMHO, there is a linkage between water shortage, lack of city planning and violence but I just don’t know enough to enlighten this discussion.